Bristol, VA taxpayers could see tax hike connected to The Falls

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BRISTOL, VA (WJHL) – Property owners in Bristol, VA will likely see a tax increase this year to help the city cover interest payments on the money borrowed for The Falls retail project. Mayor Archie Hubbard says preliminary numbers show the city will need to come up with $400,000, which could mean a four-cent property tax increase from $1.12 to $1.16.

Bristol borrowed more than $45 million in general obligation bonds for the project. Although payments on the principal of that loan are not due for several years, the mayor says the first interest payment will be due soon.

City Councilman Guy Odum says he is not on board with a four-cent tax increase.

City leaders approved a five-cent property tax hike in 2015.

Just last month, leaders announced four new businesses signed leases to join The Falls along Interstate 81. The city made that announcement just days after we learned two others backed out of the project.

The Falls is currently home to Cabela’s, Lowe’s and Zaxby’s. Sheetz is expected to open in May.

There are mixed opinions among leaders about whether the project will be successful long-term. If it’s not, taxpayers could see more property tax increases down the road.

“If we don’t get enough business to pay for the bonds, it’s going to be paid for by the taxpayers,” Mayor Hubbard said.

Despite that possibility, city leaders say new details revealed this week show there’s reason to be optimistic, but not everyone is convinced. We’ll explain Tonight at 6 on News Channel 11.Copyright WJHL 2016. All rights reserved.

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